Are you an expat or soon to be one moving to the United States? First the basics. Not everyone is familiar with the term, especially if English is not your native language. In the simplest terms, an expat or expatriate is someone who has opted to live abroad. So, if you are living in the United States or making plans to relocate here, you can consider yourself an expat or expatriate of your country.
Should you identify yourself with that term when living abroad? It can set you apart from whatever local culture you experience, and while it is ideal to retain some of your native cultural traditions, beliefs, practices, and so on, living in the United States can also open up many wonderful opportunities for adventure, sightseeing, and everyday experiences. So, the very first tip we have for an expatriate living abroad, and particularly if living in the United States, is to embrace the opportunity that your choice has provided.
Tips for a more fulfilling expatriate experience
How do you go about embracing the opportunity presented to you as an expat in the United States? Here are our top tips:
Learn a functional level of English – As the most commonly used language in the United States, English is essential. Though many people speak a second language (Spanish, French and Chinese are the top), you’ll find life easier if you’re proficient in English. Because of this, you’ll find community colleges, adult education organizations, and other institutions offering a lot of English learning training during daytime and evening hours.
Be prepared for different weather conditions – North America has a varied climate, and the different regions of the United States have radically different weather conditions. You will find that northern climes are quite cold for roughly half of the year, while the southern states can be hot and humid. The middle of the country, called the Midwest, can be dry, but it is also an area prone to some severe weather including tornadoes and intense winter storms.
Figure out housing expenses – Just as housing is a challenge everywhere else in the world, an expatriate will quickly find that the housing market in the U.S. can be varied and a bit confusing. Generally, the region in which housing is located dictates the cost. As a prime example, a free-standing home in the Midwest is going to be far less expensive than a small apartment in a major, coastal city like New York or Seattle. If you will be living abroad for fewer than two years, you will want to take a lease and renew annually.
Embrace the melting pot – America calls itself a “melting pot” because it is such a diverse country that has attracted people from all corners of the world. That means you can enjoy a diversity of cuisines, cultures, art, music, and other experiences. While living in the United States may leave you feeling a bit homesick, but you shouldn’t stick only to fellow expats! Get out and meet all kinds of people, including everyday Americans, other expats from other countries, and more.
Having your own vehicle is the easiest way to explore – America is a country with a long-lasting love affair with cars. The highway system provides you with an easy way to explore the entire country easily and affordably, but only if you have a vehicle. At International AutoSource (IAS), you can buy, rent or lease vehicles that can help you master the rules of the road in the U.S. and enjoy the freedom that a car provides. Getting around easily and enjoying road trips will become a significant part of your expatriate experience.
Living abroad can seem frightening or overwhelming, but if you take these tips for living in the United States, you’ll find it a fun and rewarding adventure.
We are the vehicle experts for expats
Each year, IAS places thousands of expats behind the wheel of their own vehicle. With over 50,000 customers and counting, IAS is the preferred global transportation provider, whether relocating to the Americas, APAC or EMEA. We know when relocating to another country an expat doesn’t always have the required local credit history or driving record to secure vehicle financing and insurance. Our direct manufacturer partnerships and privileged expatriate pricing programs make it possible for us to provide you with leasing, financing, and all-inclusive rental solutions with no local credit history or driving record. These unique partner programs also allow us to provide lease financing repatriation protection in case your work assignment or academic program is cut short. Local dealerships simply cannot offer these expat-specialized deals.